A pair accused of killing Molly Tibbets during the trial of a now-convicted illegal immigrant denied any involvement in the murder this week.
Mexican national Cristian Bahena Rivera was indicted in May 2018 for the murder of 20-year-old Tibbets, a University of Iowa student, in a case that turned a lightning rod on a border security debate.
But his sentencing hearing was delayed this week after, among other reasons, his lawyers pinned down the murder, citing testimony from prison inmate Arne Maki, 21-year-old Gavin Jones, and 24-year-old Dalton Hansen, both on Iowa.
Both Jones and Hansen denied the allegations on Friday.
“The police haven’t spoken to me. No one has talked to me. You’re the first person who called me.” Jones told the Associated Press. “I wasn’t involved in anything. I have alibis and all. I’m just waiting for someone to talk to me.”
Hansen, arriving separately, said: “I have no clue why my name was even brought up.”
Maki claimed that Jones confessed to her in prison that she and Hansen had killed Tibet after kidnapping her in a sex trafficking scheme at a home run by a man identified as James Manuel Lowe.
Judge Joel Yates this week agreed to delay sentencing until he is able to schedule a hearing on a motion for a new trial. Defense lawyers accused prosecutors of failing to disclose the sex-trafficking investigation where Tibet had reportedly disappeared. ABC News.